The Eve of Release
November 7, 2006Well, we're nearly there. A week away from opening - it seems a lifetime ago that we were settling into Prague.
The Bond circus is now on the road - Daniel and the team are in the States as part of their publicity tour while back in London, everything is in being put in place for the World Premiere, fittingly, one of the biggest ever staged and attended by Her Majesty, The Queen.
It's a busy period and probably not the best point to catch up with the producers but then, there hasn't really been a good time for that in the last 12 months! So let's see how they are feeling on the eve of the film's release.
They seem remarkably calm but then this is a familiar position for them. However, there is an air of excitement about finally getting a chance to film this story. When, at last, they acquired the rights about six years ago they knew they had a chance to do something different, as Michael Wilson explains.
"It seemed like this was the great opportunity. The opportunity had been missed all the way along and we could finally make Casino Royale the way it should be".
There have indeed been some curious versions of the story before this but in returning to the novel, Ian Fleming's first about Bond, there was plenty to explore. As Barbara Broccoli told me, Fleming put something of himself into creating his character. Written in Jamaica as Fleming finally abandoned his bachelor life style, she can see echoes of this in his writing.
"There's a parallel between Fleming giving up a life that he was enjoying, being a sort of vagabond and a playboy in order to have a more stable life. And I think he was wrestling with that and so a lot of those demons came out in the character of Bond".
That means the film-makers have been able to take a different approach to this film which Michael Wilson is confident is right for this story.
"It's quite a different film. It goes back in tone to the Dr No, From Russia With Love films. It's quite different from the last few films we've made. And so, there's a possibility of alienating some people - the people who went maybe just for the action and the glamour, the girls and the gadgets. But we think that the audience is ready for a more gritty Bond and a more realistic Bond."
Barbara Broccoli is sure that even the most fervent fans will respond well. You'd expect any producer to say this, of course, but these two are more in touch with their audience than most producers so can be pretty confident of how their film will be received.
"I think the hardcore fans will love it. I think they're going to welcome the idea of going back to the real essence of Bond and the classic type of Bond story which isn't about saving the world on a huge scale. It's a lot more personal and I think people will respond to it. The world has changed a lot and I think one of the reasons why Bond has maintained this sort of success has been because the movies have changed with the times and it's a more serious world and we expect our heroes to fight the battles with better judgement, more responsibility and less frivolity".
You'll see from this why it was immediately clear to Michael and Barbara that the new film required a new Bond. Contrary to all other rumours, it really was a one horse race for them. Daniel Craig was the only one they ever really considered as a contender. Barbara is well aware that casting a new 007 always attracts discussion.
"There was a lot of controversy when Sean Connery was first decided upon because he was not what people were expecting and there's something really exciting about that. I think Daniel is the sort of actor who will always surprise people because he will find something that no one else could find in a role. He just absolutely got under the skin of the character and from the minute you see him on the screen in the role, you forget everyone who's come before, which is a pretty remarkable thing"
Well, from next week, you'll be able to judge for yourselves.
Until next time,